The critically acclaimed, Olivier award winning, Russell Maliphant Dance Company is offering free, interactive teaching resources based on brand-new project Vortex to schools across the country, as it tours the UK this May and June.
Students of all backgrounds within each region featured across the Vortex tour, with dates in Colchester, Canterbury, Newcastle, Huddersfield, and finishing in London at the end of June 2023, will have the opportunity to access the resources for free throughout the duration of the tour, helping them to form a deeper understanding of the piece, as well as its processes, collaborators, and the creative journey.
The resources include a Vortex digital teaching pack, which contains further information about the choreographic process and artistic collaborators who made the piece, as well as a variety of teaching and learning tasks for teachers to work through with their dance students. The tasks will encourage considered choreography, inspire creativity, and give dancers an opportunity to develop performance concepts. The teaching pack will be available as a downloadable and as an audiobook.
RMDC has also produced video clips which are designed to be used alongside the Vortex digital resource pack. The video clips include the stage version of Vortex and extracts of repertoire from the performance. Each repertoire extract has been filmed and broken down by a company dancer to be directly copied, where possible, by dance students.
Inspired by masters of the twentieth-century, and influenced by the works and processes of Jackson Pollock and Abstract Expressionism, Maliphant paints his own interpretation with movement, light, and shadow to create a visually rich journey, with the remarkable dancers of RMDC. Collaborators include Ryan Stafford (lighting design), Katya Richardson (composer) and Stevie Stewart (costume design).
Together with partners the Victoria Wood Foundation and The Foyle Foundation, Russell Maliphant Dance Company has established the Dance Encounter Fund (DEF), offering 1,000 free tickets to young people aged 14 – 25 across the UK during the Vortex tour. DEF will enable RMDC to make experiencing and engaging with live performance a reality for diverse young people, where ticket cost may ordinarily act as a barrier.
RMDC have also partnered with Tickets For Good across the Vortex tour. Working together with the foundation, RMDC will provide free tickets to NHS workers and local charities, committing 50 free tickets per venue for the entire tour. Tickets For Good strives to deliver positive social impact through live entertainment by lowering the barriers of access to live events for individuals who previously may not have attended due to physical, financial, work-based, or personal obstacles.
Russell Maliphant Dance Company was established in 1996 as the framework for Maliphant to initiate productions and to work with his own ensemble of dancers. Since that time, the company has received two Olivier awards, three South Bank Show awards and four Critics’ Circle National Dance awards for best modern choreography, amongst many other national and international awards and nominations.
Russell Maliphant’s work is characterised by a unique approach to flow and energy and an ongoing exploration of the relationship between movement, light and music.
Russell Maliphant has been an Associate Artist of Sadler’s Wells since 2005 and gained a PhD in 2019.
Maliphant’s last project Silent Lines toured the UK to critical acclaim in 2019 and received plaudits and national praise from the likes of The Telegraph, The Guardian, and the Evening Standard.
Commenting on Vortex, Russell Maliphant says: “The work of Jackson Pollock had made a lasting impression on me since the first time I encountered it many years ago. I saw certain similarities in the approach to painting and energy that might sometimes be experienced in dance and movement tasks for improvisation and instantaneous composition in performance.
“As a choreographer, I have generally created abstract, non-narrative work since I started RMDC, but I have made a couple of pieces that used another artist work and processes as inspiration – namely ‘Afterlight’ (2009) which used the great Russian dancer Nijinsky as inspiration and ‘The Rodin Project ‘(2012) which used the sculptures and watercolours of the genius French sculptor Auguste Rodin.
“The creative process is altered when having a particular aesthetic to draw inspiration from and mingle with one’s own ideas. It offers a new lens through which to interpret the elements and themes around which to gather ideas. The research and development necessarily follows a different trajectory as there are particular concrete elements to dig into.
“The idea for the project began before the pandemic hit in 2020 but was put on hold, other than a couple of weeks of explorations in the studio. These started to reveal elements I wanted to work with and developed as I began working with my collaborators: Ryan Stafford, Katya Richardson, and Stevie Stewart.”
Martin Collins, Executive Director & Producer, Russell Maliphant Dance Company, comments: “We’re so looking forward to showcasing our new project to the Sadler’s audience, as our outstanding dancers take to the iconic London stage this May.
“We are hugely grateful to the BBC for optioning our film of Vortex, allowing a national reach for our new touring production. We’re also thrilled to partner with Tickets For Good throughout the Vortex tour, ensuring as many people as possible have access to our production across the UK.”
Vortex teaching resources are available here. Tickets for the Vortex tour are available now.
Vortex UK Tour dates:
16th – 20th – Excelsior Studios, London
23rd – 27th – Excelsior Studios, London
30th – The Malthouse, Canterbury
6th – Mercury Theatre, Colchester
13th – Lawrence Batley Theatre, Huddersfield
22nd – Dance City, Newcastle
29th – Artsdepot, London